BAC HA - Markets

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Bac Ha MarketSunday Market

Already many travelers come on group tours from Sapa on Sunday to attend the lively MARKET of Hmong, Tay, Dao, Nung and Giay folks, who come to slurp noodles and trade live piglets and colorful handicrafts. Women wear dangling half-moon shaped silver earrings, and belts and shawls over black or red tunics. It’s worth considering staying a Saturday night in town for a couple hours of seeing the market without the tour groups, which arrive at 10am or so. One local said, ‘Unlike Sapa, locals here like to be photographed.’ Maybe, but still always ask before taking photos here.

Other Markets & Villages

If you come on Saturday, come early enough to catch the CAN CAU MARKET, a beautiful 18km ride north of Bac Ha, which is equally as exciting and with far fewer travelers. Or on Sunday, after the tour groups come, drive about 10km north to LUNG PHIN, which holds a small market that day too.

Probably the most exciting alternative market is the COC LY FLOWER MARKET, held on Tuesdays, at the riverside village some 35km southwest of Bac Ha. You get there by boats – about USUS$6 to US$8 per person — available by the bridge passed on the road into Bac Ha. It takes two hours to get to Coc Ly, about 90 minutes back.

The friendly Flower Hmong village of BAN PHO is 3.5km northwest of Bac Ha and can be reached on a looping trek – ask someone to take you, or point it out.

Guidebooks haven’t even gone farther into the hills around Bac Ha, but there are quite authentic HOMESTAYS that can be arranged (roughly US$30 per day including meals) in nearby villages including with the Giao Trang (aka ‘white people’) of Nam Khanh and Nam Det to the southeast.

Very few stick around after the market’s done. It’s worth exploring, as there are many other markets during the week to see and homestays where foreign faces are a rarity.